We’re finally at a point in preseason where there’s movement on the depth chart, not because of great performances (although that is happening) but due to injuries and (uniquely this season) a player choice that may impact the final roster.
This is the third Riesen to believe of this season, and there have been changes. Why? Injuries to Dylan Holloway, Dmitri Samorukov, Kris Russell, Alex Stalock and the Josh Archibald uncertainty lead the way, and some verbal from the coach has inspired some small tweaks.
Is the final roster for opening night close? No, but it’s closer.
- New DNB: Oilers training camp observations
- Lowetide: Why Colton Sceviour could be an important addition for the Oilers
- DNB: Derek Ryan Q&A
- Jonathan Willis: How can the Oilers find a long-term solution in net?
- Lowetide: What will three outscoring lines do for the Oilers and Connor McDavid?
- DNB: Oilers training camp questions
- Jonathan Willis: Darnell Nurse, in context
- DNB: The Oilers’ plan for prospect Philip Broberg
- Lowetide: Examining Ken Holland’s Oilers plan and how it could impact the future
- Lowetide: Filip Berglund, sleeper option for Edmonton’s defense
- DNB: Cooper Marody Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers preseason stories of the past, from Tony Hand to Leon Draisaitl
- Lowetide: The Oilers and the Cooper Marody experiment are at a crossroads
- DNB: Oilers voice their frustration over top prospect Dylan Holloway’s injury setback
- Lowetide: A set roster? Oilers training camp gone wild? Expect the unexpected
- Lowetide: Xavier Bourgault and his ETA with the Edmonton Oilers
- DNB: Warren Foegele Q&A
- Lowetide: Oilers reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal differential
- Lowetide: Oilers’ reasonable expectations for 2021-22: Goal scoring
- Lowetide: What should the Oilers expect from Cody Ceci in his first season?
- Lowetide: Projecting the 2021-22 Edmonton Oilers opening night lineup
- Lowetide: What should Oilers expect from Duncan Keith in his first season?
- Jonathan Willis: Tyler Benson, Devin Shore and the 4-year difference between a prospect and a has-been
- Lowetide: What should Oilers fans expect from Zach Hyman in his first season?
- Lowetide: How much playing time will Evan Bouchard get with the Oilers this coming season?
- Jonathan Willis: A resurgent Zack Kassian could be an important part of the Oilers’ scoring
The big item here is the Stalock news, added to the age of Smith meaning there is a possibility of an IR trip before the start of the season. Before you balk at the idea, remember, it happened a year ago. Mikko Koskinen’s first start came January 13. Smith? February 8.
Koskinen was 5-7-0 with an .889 SP on the day Smith started his first game. After that, the big Finn went 8-6-0 with a .910SP and he should be good for that kind of production if the coaches don’t overplay him. Smith? He was consistent once healthy. By month, his SP’s were .934, .907, .928 and .926. I think the Oilers would take that in 2021-22. Stuart Skinner is No. 3 right now, he might get some competition from Konovalov for first recall later in the year.
Slight change at this position, but I don’t think it will impact opening night. Kris Russell has a neck issue, he’s expected to be out another week. Keith will be joining the team next Friday and has his vaccination. I think Koekkoek’s being paired with Evan Bouchard in early days of practice indicates he’s more on the roster than Lagesson. Broberg’s five percent represents the small chance he absolutely blows away the coaching staff with his fine play. Samorukov is a month away but could be a recall option.
Nothing has changed here, although Tippett’s verbal around Bouchard tells me the club might be looking at him as a co-second pairing blue along with Ceci. We’ll see but I don’t think they see him as a depth third pairing (Eric Gryba) type and that is encouraging. It’s great news, and I think he’ll shine.
The song remains the same at this position, I do believe everyone listed here makes the opening night roster. The question is, do they play? Tippett has more special teams forwards now, he shouldn’t need to rely on Shore for the PK. The heart of this team is at center, if the coaching staff keeps 97 and 29 apart, and Ryan can lead a third line, things get interesting.
The top three lines are locked, but the fourth line LW job is up in the air. I have Benson drawing even with Perlini, there’s been tons of verbal on Benson but we’ll have to see how he performs in preseason. If he gets four games and PK’s successfully while also posting something offensively, that’s a good arrow. Perlini has an equal chance as of this instant, in my opinion.
A position that appeared to be stable all summer has seen some movement over the course of the three RTB’s. Kailer Yamamoto didn’t have a contract until late, Sceviour is in on a PTO, and Josh Archibald is making the decision of his professional life. I moved Marody up and Turris down, both slight tweaks, but I think that’s reading the the tea leaves properly at this time.
Based on the numbers, opening night will be Smith-Koskinen, Nurse-Barrie, Keith-Ceci, Russell-Bouchard with Koekkoek the extra blue. Up fromt, it’s McDavid-Draisaitl-Ryan-McLeod-Shore at center, followed by Hyman-Nuge-Foegele-Benson-Perlini on left wing and Puljujarvi-Yamamoto-Kassian-Turris on right wing. That won’t be the roster, as one of Archibald or Sceviour will also make it, but (as I’ve been mentioning) the idea that 22 of 23 roster spots were decided entering camp is always wrong. There’s ALWAYS an injury or some damn thing that derails the plans.